As we roll into the next season of multisport races and become acquainted with the world again after lockdown, it seemed apt to reflect on races earlier this year, and one which dominated the calendar, that being the Kathmandu Coast to Coast.
Being new to multisport allowed for some unconscious incompetence heading into the race, and feeling grateful just to have made it to the start line. Ali managed a second place, having ripped it up from the start ‘being an unknown and playing to her strengths’, and I managed 9th female attempting to keep it consistent all day – but really just trying to get to the finish in one piece.
It’s safe to say we both had pretty good days out there, and both of us are signed up for 2021. However, elements of the race could have gone better for both of us, and as such here are a few pointers that we picked up from race day:
1st Run: A good time to be focused and not smash yourself… too much… it's difficult not to go hard and think you can keep that pace up from the off, but it's still a long way and the west coast is only 2km behind you.
1st Bike: Get in the bunch and stick to your race plan, stick within your limits, don’t get carried away – it’s just the beginning of the day. I ended up on my TT bike for the whole race, but purely because there was an issue with my road bike. It was probably less faff for the support crew. Ali used both road and TT during the race as she is more confident in a bunch on her roadie. Whatever works for you is best, you don't want to be worrying about riding in the bunch on your TT if that's not your thing.
Mountain Run: It’s a long way up and down, river crossings and boulder running. Keep your head up and moving forwards, especially when you go for a swim. It's very easy to make small and silly mistakes here with your route; you’re running at pace and thinking about what's to come, but stay focused on the task in hand until you get to the hut, at which point you can follow the well formed path and make up time. On the ascent, be confident with the lines you pick, and your foot placement, open up the hips when you can.
2nd Bike: A time to fuel and, for us, to mentally prepare ourselves for the kayak, to settle the nerves.
Kayak: Ideally your support crew sends you away facing in the right direction at this point, nose towards the rapids. However, if you find yourself beginning to turn back towards where you were just pushed from, the only thing to did is full rock sign with your arm in the air and whoop, whilst gently turning yourself back round and facing down the river.
Kayak: It’s a long day and the kayak leg is long. Remember that when you’re starting out and halfway down the river, and make sure you get food in whilst paddling; whatever works for you – be it liquid or solid.
Kayak: If your support crew tells you to put your paddle jacket on, then you should do what they say and don’t argue about it. They’ve most likely had info about the conditions out there and further through the gorge. It’s in your best interest to do what they say, no matter how much you hate paddling in your paddle jacket.
3rd Bike: This is where your support crew will shine! You’re tired, hungry and cold, this is where they take charge and take lead on the plan you should have laid out with them. This is again where quick decisions need to be made, and for us, they were definitely the ones who had the ability to make those decisions better. Head down, get the food in you and keep the legs turning over. Focus on moving forwards.
Transitions: So much time can be gained and lost here. Important to keep moving through the transition, it is a race after all. My support crew had a bag of food I’d pre-selected that I might want and ran with me through to my bike/kayak asking me if I wanted any of it (most of which I couldn’t actually stomach by that point – but the thought was there).
Finish: Make sure you touch the water on the east coast just to finish the day off (as much as it hurts to walk to). And don't stack it running up the final few stairs.